Destination Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire: A Framework for Growth. An ambitious vision for tourism in Scotland’s north-east

VisitAberdeenshire is one of the strongest Destination Management Organisations in Scotland, supported by private sector investor Opportunity North East, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and of course the area’s businesses and providers. Commissioned by Visit Aberdeenshire and Scottish Enterprise our role was to review the achievements of the previous visitor economy strategy and develop a new tourism vision fit for the next decade.

A large and diverse area, Aberdeenshire despite its many assets, is not generally front of mind among visitors as one of Scotland’s premier destinations.  And yet it has scenery – coastline, mountains, glens and rivers – to rival anywhere in Scotland.  Aberdeen city, Scotland’s ‘oil capital’, is diversifying and its investment in culture, events and heritage gives it a new story to tell.  Both people and place have a strong sense of place and distinctive identity.

We tapped into these unique strengths and assessed them through the lens of market trends and opportunities, to identify the priorities for investment, development and marketing.



A process of extensive engagement through individual consultations, workshops and an online survey ensured that a broad set of views and opinions were canvassed. Weighing up the delicate balance of meeting expectations and strongly held opinions alongside market realities was intrinsic to the process.

A simple but challenging ambition was set for Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire to become Scotland’s leading visitor destination by 2030 in terms of sustainable growth, business innovation and delivery of high-quality experiences.

The approach focuses on attractors providing the greatest opportunities for growth (such as festivals & events and outdoor activities); drivers required to remain competitive (eg market awareness) and enablers for a successful industry (eg digital transformation, accessibility).  Contributing to the journey towards net zero is a fundamental principle of the framework influencing and guiding decision making.

The Framework for Growth was launched at an industry event towards the end of 2022.  And we were delighted to be invited back the following Spring to run a series of action planning workshops kicking off implementation in a few key areas.

(Images courtesy of VisitAberdeenshire)

“The Framework for Growth … doesn’t belong to one single body. It identifies the opportunities that the north-east can seize upon …”
Chris Foy, Chief Executive, VisitAberdeenshire